Susannah Maria Whiting 1852-1935

Parents: John Whiting and Susannah Pilcher.(1)
Born: 31st July 1852 at Chauntry Croft, Haverhill.(1,2)
Baptised: 26th December 1852 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Daniel Purkis, 32, batchelor, shoemaker, of 17 Eden Road, Haverhill, son of John Purkis, labourer, on 6th June 1881 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by Samuel Farrant and H F Thake.(3,4)
Children: Alice Laura Whiting b.1870 (illegitimate)
Died: April 1935. Buried on 29th April 1935 at Haverhill Cemetery.(5,6)

Bio: Susannah was the eldest of John and Susannah's children, born in Chauntry Croft, Haverhill. She is living there on the 1861 census with the family, and again in 1871 where Susannah is working as a cotton weaver, and has an illegitimate daughter, Alice, also living with them.

There is a reference to a Maria Whiting in The Bury and Norwich Post in February 1878. I believe this is Susannah, because she more commonly seemed to be known as Maria. She got into trouble with the law for causing a disturbance at the Royal Exchange:

'Petty Sessions, Monday 25th February. Maria Whiting, factory hand, of Haverhill, was charged with creating a disturbance and refusing to quit the Royal Exchange when requested to do so by the landlord, William Smith, on the 15th Inst. - Complainant stated that the defendant went to his house between ten and eleven in the evening, and inquired for a young man named Brown. He told her Brown was not there, and she then accused him of sending her a valentine, of which he knew nothing. She still persisted in saying that he sent the valentine, and used abusive language, after which he turned her out. - John Mizen, a witness, stated that he was in the house at the time, having a glass of ale, and he heard both complainant and defendant having high words, but did not see Maria Whiting turned out. - Defendant stated that she went only just inside the house, and accused Smith of sending her a most obscene valentine, fit for no one to read, and told him he ought to be ashamed of himself. She also stated that he had been very familiar with her, but said that he had been married to another. He had treated her very differently and had called her abusive names. - Mr Freeman appeared for the defendant and urged that there was in his opinion no ground for conviction, as no one had seen her turned out, and complainant had treated her very badly in using such language towards her, which greatly incited defendant to say what she did. - The Magistrates, after a consulation, dismissed the case, but would not allow the defendant's costs.'(7) Sounds like the landlord got the snub he deserved by having the case thrown out. The Jury were probably disappointed that they didn't get to see the valentine card!

By the 1881 census, Susannah (known as Maria, here) is living with her now widowed father and brothers in Eden Road. Daughter Alice is a scholar. Here also is Daniel Purkiss, who would be her husband in two months.

On the 1891 census Susannah is living with Daniel at 17 Eden Road. Living with them is her illegitimate daughter Alice, 22, who is a drabbett weaver, and Alice's daughter(also illegitimate), Grace. Daniel died in March 1901 at the age of 51, and so for the 1901 census, Susannah (known as Maria again) is shown as a widow and is still at 17 Eden Road with the daughter and granddaughter.

We see her on the 1911 census, still at no.17. Her daughter has moved out, but her granddaughter remains, working as a drabbett weaver. Susannah is now working as a church cleaner.

Susannah died in 1935, and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery.(5,6)


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p11 of 37
(2) Birth Register. 3rd Quarter 1852, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 320
(3) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1881, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 680
(4) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p28 of 37
(5) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1935, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 933
(6) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.5011.
(7) The Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday, 28th Fenruary, 1878, p.8, issue 4992, C19th Century British Library Newspapers: part II.